$1.5 Million Lilly Grant to Focus on Joplin Housing Needs

Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Joplin Recovery Fund, administered by the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Inc., and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, to promote recovery efforts following the May 22 tornado.

Created in 1937, the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment concentrates most of its grantmaking in its home state of Indiana, but it also has a long history of supporting relief efforts after other natural disasters.

“Watching the devastation wrought by the May 22 tornado that struck Joplin was wrenching and saddening,” said N. Clay Robbins, president of the Endowment. “The scars may never disappear, but homes can be rebuilt and quality of life restored. The Endowment is pleased to be able to help the community foundation in these efforts.”

The CFO, and its largest affiliate, the Joplin-based Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, Inc., created the Joplin Recovery Fund on May 23 to focus on mid- to long-term recovery  through grantmaking to non-profit agencies, particularly in areas where philanthropy can address needs not covered through government funding or private resources.

The Lilly Endowment funds will initially be applied to an upcoming grant cycle that will focus specifically on developing affordable housing to help more tornado survivors return to permanent homes, CFSWMO Board President Lisa Knutzen said.

Full details of this grant cycle, including the total amount available, eligibility guidelines and application process, will be announced in January.

“We are very grateful to Lilly Endowment for its interest in Joplin and willingness to make this very generous grant to assist in the recovery,” CFO President Brian Fogle said.

“The lack of affordable housing has been described as the biggest unmet need for tornado survivors at this point,” he said. “It is our goal to create a pool of grant funding that can make a meaningful dent in that need. We understand that survivors cannot truly feel they are on their way toward recovery if they don’t have a permanent place where they can afford to live.”

This will be the second round of recovery grants made available by the generosity of donors to the Joplin Recovery Fund. In September, 18 non-profit sustainability grants totaling about $300,000 were awarded to help agencies that had been either directly affected by the tornado or are experiencing an increased caseload as a result of the storm. Details of those grants and other information about the CFSWMO/CFO’s Joplin work are available at: www.joplinrecoveryfund.org.

The Joplin Recovery Fund has received donations totaling more than $3 million. In all, donations of about $6.8 million have been made to the total 22 funds established at the CFSWMO/CFO for tornado relief efforts. The Joplin Recovery Fund is the only one directly administered by the CFSWMO/CFO; the others are administered by those who established the funds for their specific relief efforts.

Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Gifts of stock in Eli Lilly and Company remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, but it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the wishes of the founders, Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of community development, education and religion. The Lilly family’s foremost priority was to help the people of their city and state build a better life. Although the Endowment also supports efforts of national significance and an occasional international project, it remains primarily committed to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.